Major Companies Come Out Against Texas Bills Limiting Voter Access

Jack Fink reports on the political fallout.

Video Transcript

- After American Airlines criticized a new Texas elections bill, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick took aim at the Fort Worth-based airline. The bill's opponents call it a form of voter suppression, while supporters say that this would boost election integrity. Our political reporter Jack Fink tonight takes us inside the controversy.

JACK FINK: American Airlines is facing political turbulence after opposing a Texas Senate Bill aimed at reforming the state's election laws.

MIKE DAVIS: And everything is politicized these days.

- I yield for a couple of questions.

JACK FINK: It began earlier this week when former San Antonio mayor and HUD Secretary Julian Castro tweeted that after Delta Airlines condemned Georgia's new election bill, that American Airlines and Southwest Airlines must call out Texas Senate Bill 7, saying it would suppress the votes of marginalized Texans. In a statement Thursday, American Airlines said "earlier this morning, the Texas State Senate passed legislation with provisions that limit voting access. To make American's stance clear, we are strongly opposed to this bill and others like it." It also said "any legislation dealing with how elections are conducted must ensure ballot integrity and security while making it easier to vote, not harder."

In response, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick fired back, saying "Texans are fed up with corporations that don't share our values trying to dictate public policy." Southwest Airlines didn't criticize the Texas legislation, but said in a statement that it supports voting rights. We asked SMU economics Professor Mike Davis, who specializes in how business and government intersect, about American Airlines' statement.

MIKE DAVIS: Again, I think their motivation here is mostly to PR, goodwill. We're a corporation that cares. And I don't understand why they think we should care what they think.

JACK FINK: So is there a downside when a private corporation takes a stand on a public policy issue? And could it affect their bottom line?

MIKE DAVIS: I don't believe that American Airlines is really considering the downside. They've got 100,000 or more employees. They've got many, many times that number of shareholders and people who fly on the airline.

JACK FINK: He said customers and shareholders are focused on how American Airlines operates and not necessarily what it thinks of election laws. Jack Fink, CBS 11 News.